Vegetarian For The Day
Spring is finally coming into full boom here in Waco, Texas, leaving many to feel energized and ready to turn over a new and green leaf. A great and tasty way to do just that is by adding vegetarian meal options to your weekly dining. Whether you’re a seasoned vegetarian, proud vegan, or still a meat advocate, there are a multitude of plant-based recipes out there for everyone to enjoy. Cutting back on meat with a few vegetarian swaps can be healthier for you, the earth, and your wallet, so we’ve rounded up a few vegetarian meal swaps to help get you through the day.
Breakfast – Vegetarian breakfast options are pretty obvious and usually standard, but when it comes to protein, you may find yours is lacking. Below are a few things that can help give you some much needed energy for those early mornings.
Granola cereal with almonds, pistachios, walnuts, etc.
Bananas, apples, and oranges (stay away from the really sugary and less nutritious fruits to avoid feeling sluggish)
Eggs with spinach, scrambled, easy over, however you love it.
Lunch – Many college students don’t even work lunch into their busy schedules, so that’s why making a quick and simple sandwich, whether in the morning or between classes, can be a great save. You don’t really need a recipe for a sandwich, but just in case, my own favorite concoction is below:
Focaccia with cucumber, bell pepper, spinach, hummus, sundried tomato spread, and mayo.
Dinner – This is, of course, is the more involved of the meals so I’ve included a real, grown-up recipe for Eggplant Parmesan (credit to Givemesomeoven). Though initially hesitant to try this, I was happily surprised at how filling and easy this dish was. But, if you’re not “culinarily” inclined, you can always opt for a simple spaghetti squash dish with some roasted vegetables.
Eggplant Parmesan :
2 medium eggplants (or one large), sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning, homemade or store-bought
2 eggs (or 1 egg + 2 egg whites)
cooking spray (or olive oil)
1 (25 ounce) jar tomato basil sauce (HEB Organics Tomato Basil Sauce is so good and cheap)
2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup finely-grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup loosely-packed chopped or julienned fresh basil (I use dried)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
In a shallow bowl, whisk together Panko breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning and 1 teaspoon salt until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth. Dip an eggplant round on both sides in the whisked egg mixture, then immediately dip it in the breadcrumb mixture until the eggplant is completely coated, then set on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant rounds until they are all evenly spaced on the baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, turn them over at 10 minutes, and bake until the breadcrumbs are toasted and slightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of an 11 x 8-inch baking dish. Place half of the eggplant in a (mostly) even layer along the bottom of the baking dish. Spread an additional 1 cup of tomato sauce evenly over the eggplant. Then sprinkle 1 cup Mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauce, followed by 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, followed by 1/4 cup of the fresh basil. Repeat with another layer of the remaining eggplant, then tomato sauce, then Mozzarella, then Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and starts to turn slightly golden around the edges, and the sauce is bubbly. Remove and sprinkle with the remaining basil. Serve immediately.
These are just a few options from a greatly increasing global recipe book for vegetarian and plant-based diets, so if none of the above interest you, don’t stop here! Happy cooking!
Written by: Camryn Thane
Edited by: Abby Sowder